Growers are anxious about the potentially devastating fruit fly found in Auckland, but moves to contain the threat are reassuring, Horticulture New Zealand says.
A 1.5km biosecurity cordon has been set up in the suburb of Avondale after a male Queensland fruit fly was found in a surveillance trap in neighbouring Mt Roskill on Tuesday.
Biosecurity experts have been setting up traps and scouring gardens for signs of more fruit flies, while people are banned from taking fresh fruit and vegetables outside the restricted areas in an effort to contain the pest.
The Ministry for Primary Industries has warned the fruit fly could have serious consequences for the New Zealand horticulture industry, which exports $2.23 billion of fruit and vegetables a year.
Horticulture New Zealand president Andrew Fenton today said the containment effort was reassuring, but added he would be watching it closely.
"This is an anxious time for all growers,'' he said.
Mr Fenton said he was particularly interested in the implementation of the controlled areas.
He endorsed comments by Auckland mayor Len Brown, who yesterday encouraged people to respect the restrictions.
"We understand this all must seem very odd to the people living and working in the exclusion zones, but we hope they understand just how vital it is that they do the right things,'' Mr Fenton said.
"Growers appreciate the co-operation we are getting from Aucklanders. It's not just commercial horticulture that needs their help, but all the Kiwis with fruit trees and veggie patches.''
Mr Fenton said the fruit fly not only threatened the export fruit and vegetable industry, but all horticultural production, including wine valued at $6.4b a year.
The Australian horticulture industry spends almost $130 million a year attempting to control the fruit